Thursday, December 29, 2011

ChrisMix: Dark

ChrisMix 2011: Dark
Madder, Sadder, Friskier.

1. T.O.R.N.A.D.O. – The Go! Team

If I ever become a boxer, or have to run a marathon, or really do anything in which I need to be pumped up, this is the song I’ll pick.

2. One Foot Before The Other – Frank Turner

I dig the way Frank says capillaries. Also, I dig how he takes a simple human desire, wanting attention, and then manages to extrapolate it onto all of the human race.

3. Colours – Grouplove

I thought this was a pleasant enough song at first, then really listened to the lyrics. Which isn’t to say the lyrics are negative. They’re not clear to me, but there is definitely frustration, confusion, resentment and a bit of suicide in there. But at the same time there is acceptance.

4. Get Some – Lykke Li

This song sounds grungy and grimy before Lykke starts singing about prostitutes and shotguns. A lot of these tracks depict people in nonideal situations, but surviving. The darkness allows them to show their strength and determination in a way the light never could.

5. Virgin – Manchester Orchestra

I really like the video for Simple Math, but I don’t love the song. I love this song. It’s one of the ones that I’m sure many others won’t enjoy, but it’s my mix not theirs. The plodding beats and children’s choir paint a haunted house filled with the unsavory and macabre. Perfect Christmas music.

6. Buy My Love – Wynter Gordon

As with her track on Bright, this is a pretty fluffy piece. I can’t tell whether she is being ironic about materialism and exploitation, or reveling in it. But in either case she’s fully aware of it, and enjoying the power that comes from this knowledge.

7. Hold It In – Jukebox the Ghost

Is the quality of a band's name enough to get them into the ChrisMix?
Not quite. But it certainly helps. They also have a good pedigree,
having toured with Moldy Peaches, Barenaked Ladies, Jack's Mannequin
etc. Also the song is great.

8. When the Night Kills the Day – Lauren Pritchard

The asyncopation of the chorus is a powerful engine propelling this song forward, and that momentum it builds make the conclusions seem inevitable. It’s a great album all around and Painkillers or It’s Not the Drinking could also have made it. They also seem to indicate Lauren has some substance abuse issues.

9 L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. – Noah and the Whale

Here we are, back in the gutter. Just as Grouplove told us that we call this life because we can’t call it hell, here Noah paint various depressing pictures of failure, but comes to the same conclusion, spelled out no less. Life goes on. It’s dark, but somehow still motivating.

10 How Can I Say I Love You – Girls

As a perennial single person, I love the songs of unrequited love. Less common are the songs of lingering love, the affection that has outstayed its welcome. You want what you don’t want what you want. It’s painful for both parties but one usually gets the brunt. The boys from Girls know this well.

11 Sun of a Gun – Oh Land

I have a hard time imaging Oh Land ever getting too angry. What could a beautiful Nordic songstress get too mad about, other that the inevitable Gaga and Bjork comparisons? But she does her best to give a brush-off here to some Viking lover.

12 My Fault Your Mistake – Lex Land

Oh’s little sister Lex knows a thing or two about regret. She’s not actually related to Oh (to the best of my knowledge) and in fact her style is quite the opposite: simple melodies, little accompaniment, wailing rather than chirping. But beautiful is beautiful.

13 Poison & Wine – The Civil Wars

I'd say this dark ChrisMix has more straight forward lyrics than most
mixes. A lot of the tracks are almost too repetitious for my taste. But in tracks like this one, you really need the repeated refrains to help strengthen the message. The words seem like a series of paradoxes (paradice?) but by the end of the umpteenth you know what “I don’t love you but I always will” means.

14 Skinny Love – Birdy

Bon Iver didn’t qualify for ChrisMix since he’s been on my radar for a few years, so I’ll sneak some in using this cover. Honestly I prefer Birdy’s version, which I know is blasphemy to the Iver faithful. And while it’s true that I doubt her 15 year old mind can comprehend the song as well as Iver (especially considering he wrote it) but her young voice makes it all the more poignant.

15 Poor in Love – Destroyer

This song makes the list just for it’s opening line. “I was poor in love, I was poor in wealth, I was ok in everything else.” Certainly a sentiment people in their 20s may relate to well.

16 Blue Jeans – Lana Del Ray

People went crazy over Lana’s song Video Games, but I just wasn’t feeling it. But this song I feel. Also Diet Mt. Dew and the previously mentioned Kinda Outta Luck, but mostly this one. I don’t know if Lana is going to explode in 2012 like people predict she will, but if it gives us more of these tracks, I’ll be ok with it.

17 Manners – Icona Pop

I love everything about this song. I love the beats, the chorus, the lyrics, the bitter tone in her voice, the video, everything. I don’t want to tell you what to do, but you should too.

18 Someboy That I Used to Know – Gotye

I loved the whole of the Gotye album, partially because the songs showed some nice range. But this was definitely the standout. It starts so mellow, but then crashes down into the anger of a failed relationship. He’s not ranting and raving, just in pain and angry about that pain. And rather than have it be a one-sided argument, then Kimbra comes in with her brief verse. But she too conveys the pain, and you see it’s just a bad situation for everybody.

19 Suicide Policeman – Yuck

Generally I try to include songs where I like the whole album. So if you like a track, you can go out and get the whole thing and have yourself a new favorite artist. But I really tried to like this Yuck album, because lots of other music savvy people did, and I wasn’t able to. But you might. I like this particular song a lot though.

20 Breakfast – EMA

I don’t have much to say about this one. I like it. I’m not sure what it means, but it manages to be both soothing and vibrant simultaneously. See what you think.

21 Hurt – 2cellos

I’d say it’s a toss-up as to who is more famous for this song: Nine Inch Nails or Johnny Cash. I know, you probably don’t think of them together too often. But Cash covered this NIN tune, and did so magnificently. This cello version brings Cash’s version to my mind more than the original, though all 3 bring the melancholy pretty effectively.

That’s it for this year. Hope your year had more Bright days than Dark. And if not, there’s always next year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Movies (not really, just 11)

I'll get back to the ChrisMix: Dark shortly. But here's a brief palette cleanser.

Somehow my movie patronage dropped considerably this year. I would've guessed I'd only seen a handful of movies, though in the end the total was 11 which I'd guess is pretty typical. But it's low for me. But I'm sure that if you, or myself for that matter, were to guess which 11, you'd be wrong. The movies are almost all obscure, cultish, non-starter affairs. But I'd have to say it was a 100% success rating for me. So while I'll now rank those 11 films, they're all winners.

The time of the year when I rank all the movies I saw in the theater in 2011.

11. Sherlock Holmes 2.

I don't care what the actual title was. Friends were seeing it, so I went with. If nothing else it has Stephen Fry, so that makes it worth seeing. It's fun and forgettable.

10. The Adjustment Bureau

Again, friends. It was an interesting concept that never quite congealed as I hoped.

9. Horrible Bosses

It's only goal was being funny, and it succeeded. It was the first time I didn't hate Jennifer Aniston, so that's an accomplishment.

8. Fright Night

Fun, funny, creepy at times. It might have scored higher if I hadn't had to leave the theater several times to answer pages.

7. Tabloid

Very interesting, though uncomfortable at times. Uncomfortable is fine, but it felt needlessly so.

6. Tree of Life

A great film experience (that I probably won't ever watch again.)

5. Hanna

We need more indie action flicks dagnabbit.

4. Melancholia

Beautiful, sad (duh), too painfully slow to be riveting but the painful slowness was intentional. I think.

3. The Muppets

It has been a long long time since I've enjoyed a non-R comedy this much. I'm not saying the R is necessary for something to be funny, I just find the two things tend to go together. In any case, this movie showed me I'm not completely jaded to family fun.

2. Trollhunter

This movie was so fun. It probably could have been a bit shorter, but I enjoyed every minute.

1. Attack the Block

I didn't walk out of the movie thinking it was the movie of the year, but I can't say I enjoyed any movie more. They made a great action comedy, with aliens, with plenty of Britishness thrown in for good measure. What more can I expect?

Monday, December 26, 2011

ChrisMix 2011: Bright

It was kind of an interesting year. My resolution was to listen to less music, mostly so I could do some more thinking. Sometimes this thinking lead me to a negative place. I’ve always had a predilection for some dark, melancholy music, and I certainly found some this year. But on the whole I don’t feel like these tunes represented my year. So while I wanted to share them, I didn’t want them to be THE ChrisMix.

At the same time, I found that a lot of my favorite albums this year contained both feel good tracks as well as some bummers. Beautiful, but bummers. So I decided I could have both too. I made two mixes, each adhering to the rules of ChrisMix. But about half of each mix are the same artists from the other, just different in tone.

ChrisMix 2011: Bright

1. Don’t Say Oh Well – Grouplove

I think this song is actually pretty autobiographical, about the band’s first year together. But the sentiments of the song can be universally applied. “This year has been a big one . . . following what we don’t plan . . . Will you follow your heart’s plan? Oh, why not jump in to that ocean, and run your fingers through your hair? Don’t say oh well.”

2. If Ever I Stray – Frank Turner

Another song about counting to 4 and jumping in the ocean. What can I say, I love both of those things. I really like Fran’s mix of melody and growl, as well as his insistence on mentioning England in every song. He’s British and don’t you forget it! I also like that the song is a motivational speech, but it’s not overly cloy. Pick yourself up, get on with it, don’t feel entitled. Now start.

3. Blue Eyes – Destroyer

The first lines of the song sound like gibberish, but at the same time do seem evocative. He then states “I write poetry for myself” and you get the sense that he’s definitely saying something, it just wasn’t aimed at you. The whole song, and indeed album are that way, and constantly leave you wondering, but listening all the closer for it. Because it’s something you’re pretty sure you want to know.

4. Hope It’s You – Lauren Pritchard

Although this is the bright mix, the songs aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. This song is definitely not a rosy picture, but it feels empowered and confident to me. It doesn’t hurt that the drums, piano and handclaps provide a driving beat that propels the whole thing into a groove party.

5. We Turn It Up – Oh Land

The first of our numerous Scandinavian acts this year, Oh Land was a challenge. I liked every song on the album, so which to pick? Clearly, in the end it was this one. It’s a bit light lyrically, but to be honest, so are most of her songs. But the jangly happiness of it compensates for this.

6. Magic – Girls

Often the track I pick to represent a band is their single. After all, that’s why singles are selected, because they seem to be the standout track. But I didn’t like the first single from Girls, nor the second. But it turns out, I love a lot of the tracks that aren’t “single-worthy.” Such as this one. I am starting to rebel against my own apparent predilection for retro, but I can’t deny the charm of this track.

7. Ready to Go Steady – The Go! Team

What to say about The Go! Team? They have an exclamation point in the middle of their name. They work with bands like Best Coast, Deerhoof and Soko. They have 2 tambourine players, one of which is named Ninja. They list the inspirations as blaxploitation, Bollywood and double dutch chants. They’re fun.

8. Waiting for My Chance to Come – Noah and the Whale

I didn’t want every track on this album to sound like a pep talk, but lots of them do. This one does. But so far every song on this album has a mirror track on the Dark album, which I think validates the pep talks. If they never admitted to the darkness in other songs and were relentlessly positive, I wouldn’t trust their pep talk.

9. Tonight – Atoi

Another proud contribution from Denmark. Their citizenship was enough to get them on the mix. Well, that and this track is pretty great..

10. Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars

I maintain that I hate country music. So the fact that this song/album/band has been nominated for multiple country music awards, and they just released a song with Taylor Swift, and they kind of sound like country will all be ignored. It’s not country. It’s folk, and folk I can live with.

11. Be Brave – Love Inks

I have no idea how I came across this band, as they don’t have much of a web presence. So clearly they must have hacked my iPod and put this track in there so I’d promote it on my blog. I see no other possible explanation.

12. Go Outside – The Cults

If nothing else, this song made me research the Jonestown Massacre, something on which I was sadly uninformed. And while I can’t say that I completely understand or agree with the sampling of various cult leader’s speeches in the album, the contrast with the music can be striking. The reminder of the darkness doesn’t really mar the cheery veneer of the song, but certainly grounds it. I think some might find the imagery of the video exploitive and insensitive, but I think it lends some earnestness to the sentiment of the song.

13. Baby, We’re Refugees! – Jon Fratelli

This is a bit of a cheat. The Fratellis were a favorite debut from a few years back, and here is Jon doing a bit of solo work. I considered doing a track from Codeine Velvet Club, Jons other band, since it would be more of a departure. But this is my favorite song from either the latest Fratellis album, CVC or Jon, so why not go with the best. The song starts catchy, and continues to add layer after layer of catchy hooks as it progresses. It won’t change your life, but it will get you humming pretty darn quick.

14. Mexico – The Staves

The Staves are 3 British sisters singing American harmonies. Hopefully you don’t like the song too much, as you’ll only be able to find a handful of Staves tracks anywhere. But they recently started touring with The Civil Wars, so hopefully they get their act together and put out a full album. Women.

15. Drunk On Your Love – Wynter Gordon

There was an Onion piece a while back satirizing pop nothingness with a new song called Booty Wave. They released the .mp3 of the track on their website, and it got so many downloads that the question arose whether it was really satire or just an actual pop song. I can’t say Wynter Gordon is any “better” that a typical Spears or Perry. But she puts together fun pop that’s at least as good and much less ubiquitous.

16. Ungirthed – Purity Ring

I’m going to be honest, I’ve never listened to the lyrics of any Purity Ring track. They may be singing about stepping on kittens. The only part I know of this song is “Ears ringing and teeth clicking and ears ringing and teeth clicking.” I just like the sound of the whole jumble of notes, words, tones, beeps, clicking and ringing.

17. Revolution Girl – Marsmobil

A lot of these songs have already been shared on my blog over the course of the year. But this one never was, primarily because the album cover has a topless woman on it. You’d think there would be a way around that, but I haven’t figured it out. In any case, click through with caution. But the song is great.

18. Good Intent – Kimbra

Kimbra is featured on Dark, and nearly got a third nod for a contribution to a Miami Horror track. She’s been all over the place this year. She also has a number of videos out, and I’d say both the Settle Down and Cameo Lover videos are more interesting than this one. But ChrisMix isn’t about videos. This is my favorite track. But now you know that there are plenty of other ones to look into if your interest is piqued.

19. Tesselate – ∆

Yes, the name of the band is a triangle. They’re also known as Alt-J, which in case you’re not a huge huge huge nerd, is how you type triangle on a mac. But I’ll overlook the stupidity of their name (though they also single about triangles in the song, so it must be near and dear to their hearts) and also that the song sounds a bit too Radioheady, because I like it.

20. Jubilation Day – Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers

The first thing I noticed about Steve Martin’s 2nd bluegrass album is how it’s not a joke. Yes, a couple of the songs are amusing, such as this one. But most aren’t, they’re just bluegrass. But if you like bluegrass, or the fact that Steve Martin is a stud, that should be fine with you. It’s fine with me. Though I’d be happy if he did release a comedy bluegrass album.

21. Don’t Stop Me Now – Sandra Bae

It’s my favorite Queen song, receiving a quality reimagination. I don’t know if I have more commentary for you than that. Enjoy.

22. White Winter Hymnal – Birdy

All my favorite Birdy tracks are covers. Indeed, half her debut album consists of covers. Which would be more of a problem if they weren’t so good. Here she covers Fleet Foxes, who had a great album this year, but sadly didn’t qualify for this mix since they’ve been around a couple years. I’m also counting it as my Christmas track, even though it’s just winter-related. Close enough.

23. Sadness Is a Blessing – Lykke Li

As previously stated, Lykke Li is my artist of the year. And not just because her name is fun to say, though that helps. And not just because she’s Swedish, which is almost as good as being Danish. But because she’s great. This song isn’t exactly bright, but it has a brightness to it. She has problems, and they hurt, but she’s making something beautiful from it all. The line between Bright and Dark isn’t always clear.

24. America’s Song – Air Review

The only reason this is a bonus track is because I forgot to put it on the first dozen ChrisMixes I handed out. It’s just as good as the rest of the songs, if not better. But I just love the environment and my wallet too much to go back and remake all those cds.

Stay tuned tomorrow(ish) for ChrisMix: Dark.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Who knew my Forever Lazy story would have a denouement?

So I ordered a pink Forever Lazy as a gag gift. Unfortunately when my 2 comedic pink body bags arrive, they are not medium sized bags, but instead XL blue ones. There's a note included saying in essence "We didn't have what you ordered in stock, so instead we gave you something else. Merry Christmas!" To their credit they did include a Snuggie, so I now have 3 useless things rather than 2.

It was a gag gift and the gag event has passed, so a normal person would let sleeping dogs lie. But I got out of work early and having nothing to do this afternoon so called up their customer service department. From them I received such gems as, and these are quotes not paraphrases: "Yes. Some of our customers are happy and some are not," "Our policy is that it is more important to get it to you by Christmas than to get the order 100% correct" (my order being 0% correct) and "If you hadn't opened the box you could have returned it without paying shipping and handling. (Me) Then I wouldn't have known that it contained the wrong items. (Her) Yes, that's true."

So rather than going to the post office, paying shipping and handling and waiting a 4-8 weeks for them to replenish their stock, then receiving comedic pink pjs, I got her to give me $20 back, and I'll keep these XL blue pjs. To be fair, the size of these XL versions, which according to the box will fit someone that is 6'5'' and 260 lbs, makes them fairly comedic as well.

But still, Forever Lazy, good job living up to your name.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

ChrisMix Rejects

ChrisMix is complete. Most won't get it in time for Christmas, so my apologies. You'll get it before New Years.

Below are 18 songs that didn't make it. The reasons why are delineated. All songs are linked to youtube videos.

Category 1 - Band known previous to 2011

1. Rox in the Box - The Decemberists.

I quite liked this album. You'll probably like it to. Go get it!

2. Blue Spotted Tail - Fleet Foxes

On the surface this is just a pretty little ditty. Below the surface it's an interesting commentary on atheism, happiness, astronomy and Carl Sagan. Also, it's pretty.

3. Immigrant Song - Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross/Karen O

Holy hannah. Liked the original, love this cover.

4. You Make It So Hard - Ivy

I know that you needed something to wipe the dirt of the Reznor away from your synapses.

5. Second Chance - Peter Bjorn and John

Like that Youngfolks song, it's almost incomprehensibly catchy, but not as overplayed.

6. Lotus Flower - Radiohead

I didn't love love love this album at first, but I've worked my way up to 1.5 loves. I think by March when I go to the show I'll be up to 3. At the very least, Thom's dancing has "improved" over the years.

Cateogry 2 - Band known before 2011, and song is profane

7. Rocket Scientist - Teddybears

The swearing is of the tamer variety, but is fairly consistent throughout. But if you can see through that flaw, it's got some dang good beats.

8. Make Some Noise - Beastie Boys

This particular video bleeps out their hijinks, but you know they're being rowdy. But I also think it's their strongest single since Hello Nasty. And the video is a who's who of comedic cameos.

Category 3 - Just profane (suggest skipping if sensitive to such things)

9. Snapped - Jhene Aiko

One of my favorite songs of the year, hands down. But the description of romantic cruelty begs for expletives. Too bad.

10. Das Racist - Michael Jackson

I hated this song at first listen. Why did I change my mind? I couldn't tell you honestly. It just seems like some ridiculousness spouted by drunk guys at 4 in the morning, and the ridiculousness is contagious.

11. Eid Ma Clack Shaw - Bill Callahan

I love this song. Curse you one curse word! It's a simple piece about dreaming, imagination, remembrance and gibberish phrases. All great things.

12. Felicia - The Constellations

This song is dirty. Most every line is a euphemism, or at times not even a euphemism, just an outright description. So while there is no actual swearing, I couldn't help but classify it as profane. And uber-catchy.

Category 4 - Overplayed

13. Call It What You Want - Foster the People

The degree to which Pumped Up Kicks was overplayed was quite remarkable. We haven't seen the likes since, I don't know, maybe Umbrella. Especially considering it's about a school shooting, it was just an all around odd bit of zeitgeist acceptance. Which is unfortunate, as the whole album is quite good.

Category 5 - A 2nd (or 3rd) song after another was chosen for the ChrisMix

14. Love Out of Lust - Lykke Li

I was asked who my favorite artist of the year is, and I'd have to say Lykke. She has two other songs on the ChrisMix, but this one is fantastic as well, as is Youth Knows No Pain. And I Follow Rivers. And Jerome. And every other song on the album.

15. Kinda Outta Luck - Lana Del Rey

There's a surprising amount of internet contention regarding Lana, but I for one think she's da'

Category 6 - Just not the best

16. Keep on Trying - Lanterns On the Lake

I like the video as much as the song. They're saturated with lazy-day nostalgia of events that I never experienced.

17. Amor Fati - Washed Out

I quite liked this whole album, it just all fades into background music for me. But very good background music.

18. Normal - Ximena Sarinana

I'm sure the song isn't terribly profound, but I'm going to pretend it is.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dreaming of a White Elephant

You can’t go into a white elephant gift exchange hoping to give someone a gift they’ll really enjoy. The odds of the particular gift reaching the particular person and touching their heart are just too slim. And you can’t participate in a white elephant gift exchange hoping to actually benefit from the exchange. The chances of the gift you take home being better than what you could have bought yourself is even lower. The only reason to participate in a white elephant is for the entertainment value of the event itself.

The most popular items at our work white elephant exchanges are invariably gift cards. We have a 20 dollar limit, so people buy 20 dollar cards for Best Buy, Target etc. These are feverishly stolen back and forth until they are no longer stealable. But again, wouldn’t you rather have 20 dollars to spend wherever you wish? So if you’re going to fight over these, why even enter? Instead, contribute something ridiculous, and expect something ridiculous.

This year’s most ridiculous item: the Forever Lazy. My issue is not so much in the contraption itself, but in the name. The item is silly to be sure, but the name is just horrendous. And the commercial looks like it’s an SNL parody. But no, it’s real. And so I bought one. And since it was only economical to buy 2, I bought 2. And since it was most comedic for it to be pink, I bought 2 pink ones. And since they have poor customer service, my 2 Forever Lazies arrived the day after my white elephant gift exchange.

So I was left at the 11th hour giftless. I’d made a valiant effort to provide a comical gift, of this year’s most recent novelty item. And with this effort expended, albeit futilely, I felt justified in resorting to contributing a gift card. I’d already spent the money on my Forever Lazies, so I felt further justified in not spending money. And since I had one a Dominos gift card the year prior, that is what I was going to contribute. I’m sorry Dominos, but if I’m going to spend money on chain-quality pizza, I’m getting Papa Johns. So the 20 dollars had sat on my shelf for the last 365 days, and now I’d give it to someone else.

The white elephant exchange had few surprises. A gift contained lotto tickets that ended up paying out $40 dollars, so that was a quality win. A gift card was paired with a tube of Mandelay, which is a sexual enhancement product that you can research on your own if you so desire. I put my Dominos gift card in a Victoria’s Secret bag, which had the intended effect of making the men hesitant to open it. But the biggest surprise came when we came to the end of the white elephant with only one person left to draw, and no gifts remaining. Who participates in a gift exchange and doesn’t contribute a gift? Whoever it was did not choose to speak up when the conundrum arose.

The last person to draw was of course myself. At this moment I felt especially glad that I had not contributed the awesome Forever Lazy I had originally intended. I was doubly glad that I had contributed a gift card that I had won and not wanted the year before. There was some brief discussion as to what I could receive, but my repeated statements that I didn’t care were ignored. One resident gave me the tube of Mandelay, despite my earnest efforts to refuse it. Then another gave me his gift, which he assured me he wasn’t going to use. It was a Dominos gift card.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Look who's talking now

I gave a talk yesterday. Like most people, I’m not enthralled with the concept of public speaking. Seinfeld famously noted that more people list public speaking as a fear than death, so people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy. If you were to ask me “Hey, do you want to talk to a large group of people?” my answer would be not particularly. But if you were to ask me “Hey, do you want to talk to a person?” my answer would also be not particularly. My desire to communicate is conditional on the person, or in this case, the group of people. But my ward is a group of people that I’m generally interested in communicating with/at/for.

I don’t think giving a talk is very hard. Ten minutes is not really that much time to fill. Certainly giving a worthwhile talk isn’t about filling ten minutes of time with anything that comes to mind, but the fact remains that you only need two or three points to express and then you’ve run out of time. So here is a quick guide of what I generally try to include in a talk:

1. I don’t start with “I was assigned to talk about”
2. I generally start with some sort of obvious joke. This is a general practice many will follow, but I do it specifically for my own reasons. Some people can’t tell when I’m joking, so I start with a more obvious joke so they’ll pick up that there will be jokes along the way and that I’m not being entirely serious throughout.
3. I like to have an actual thesis.
4. I try to include a scripture not from the main section I’m referencing.
5. I try not to read more than 2 scriptures verbatim.
6. I don’t quote scripture mastery scriptures, or other commonly referenced verses. I may reference them, but not quote them.
7. I’ve learned not to get too abstract. I initially wanted to talk about how we each had our own personal “wicked traditions of our fathers/selves” but scrapped it for being too nebulous.
8. I try to quote a general authority. Extra points for Bruce R.
9. I try to quote a non general authority, but never CS Lewis or Dr Seuss. This week it was Rasputin.
10. I try to throw in bit of medicine or psychology. This week I had comments regarding scorpion induced pancreatitis, behavioral replacement and decreasing drug resistance to antibiotics, but sadly had to cut them due to time constraints.
11. I tell a personal story, 2 if they’re short. I generally try to avoid mission stories (as they are more things that happened to me, rather than things I have intentionally done.)
12. I like to throw in references to the other talks given, if applicable.
13. I try to incorporate testimony into the message of the talk rather than have a whole mini-talk at the end of my talk for my testimony.

If I do all those things, I’ll run over. Which is itself a problem, but it means I’ll have a serviceable talk that just needs some winnowing.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sleepy Carl is too clever for me

Blanket non-blogging apology. With that out of the way, and speaking of blankets:


I love sleep. If you're someone who doesn't, I'm sorry for you. I also don't really understand where you're coming from. I guess you like being awake, which is fine and all, but just isn't my thing.

Mike Birbiglia has a bit about Sleepy Carl, which goes something approximately (exactly) like this:

I actually haven't remembered my dreams with any frequency since my mission (the last time I got as much sleep as I was supposed to), so Sleepy Carl has to be more devious with me. He doesn't tempt me with dreams, but he makes up reasons why it's a bad idea for me to get out of bed.

Most often he says I'm sleep deprived, which is true. The trickiest tricksters throw those truths out there to snag you. But in my early morning thinking I should always go back to sleep, because some time in the next few days I'm going to have to be on call and could potentially be awake for 30 hours. Stockpiling sleep has no physiological evidence, but Sleepy Carl doesn't rely on evidence based research for his arguments.

Even though I live in Arizona, the hottest state in the union (maybe, I have no proof of that) Sleepy Carl always convinces me it's cold outside. So of course it makes sense to stay under my covers for as long as possible. I have been entirely convinced that it's freezing outside of my bed, only to step outside into 90 degree weather. Now currently my heat isn't working and it is actually 50 degrees outside of my bed at night, and unfortunately Carl is able to keep this memory in my head all year long.

Sleepy Carl sometimes convinces me that I have a headache, and the best way to deal with a headache is to not be conscious. It's relatively rare for me to actually have a headache in the morning, but I can't reliably tell if my headache is in my mind, or just in my head, until I'm in the car on the way to work. Only then will Carl give up and admit that my head hasn't been aching all morning, it's just been a ploy to keep me asleep.

I'm sure Sleepy Carl has other tricks up sleeve, but for now I'm on to him.